25 votes

Thoughts on feeling like you're posting too many links when there is not enough content

It seems like there are not that many new topics posted on Tildes, and that we could post a lot more. But I sometimes find myself reluctant to do so. Don't I post too much already?

Recently there was a survey and apparently many people think Tildes is too tech-oriented. I don't think it's all that tech oriented, not like Hacker News or lobste.rs, but that makes me a little more reluctant to post tech links. (Though, really, other people should post more of the kind of links they want to see.)

I suspect it's not just me. Periodic topics sometimes get a lot of comments. Periodic topics have been started specifically to avoid having too many top-level topics on one subject.

But, why are we avoiding this? What's wrong with posting more links? If this were a social bookmarking site, I'd be saving more links. Maybe I'd save a bunch of accordion links, without any regard for whether people are interested?

It seems like we need something like folders. When new links are posted in a folder, they don't get listed individually at top-level. You could drop a bunch of links in a folder if you felt like it, without feeling like you're monopolizing conversation, because people would have to open the folder to see what's there. Or maybe instead of folders it would be something like creating a playlist. You could start a topic that's basically a list of links, and then anyone can add links to it if they want.

It seems like groups don't really do this, somehow? They feel a bit too open and exposed. Everything shows up on the front page regardless of group. (I mean, you can filter or unsubscribe from groups, but many of us don't. Partly because they're too broad. Who's going to unsubscribe from music just because they aren't interested in some music?)

So instead we use topics and post links as comments. It sort of works, but it's given me a lot of practice at writing markdown-formatted links on a mobile keyboard, and they appear differently in search and aren't tagged.

It seems like links posted within a topic and posted top-level should be more similar in the UI. Maybe if there's some conversation about a link within a topic, a moderator could promote it to top-level? Maybe a lot of topics would start that way, and then the site would feel a bit more full.

39 comments

  1. [6]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    IMO the reason we avoid doing that is for the same reason new group creation hasn't been totally opened up to users yet... because just like with having too many groups totally devoid of activity,...

    But, why are we avoiding this? What's wrong with posting more links? If this were a social bookmarking site, I'd be saving more links. Maybe I'd save a bunch of accordion links, without any regard for whether people are interested?

    IMO the reason we avoid doing that is for the same reason new group creation hasn't been totally opened up to users yet... because just like with having too many groups totally devoid of activity, a wall of 0 or 1 point topics with 0 comments on them isn't exactly an appealing look to most potential new users either.

    Imzy did open group creation practically from the start, which lead to it becoming a site largely comprised of mostly inactive groups, or even when they were active in terms of submission volume they had almost no comment activity, and it was one of the major contributors to its downfall IMO. So there needs to be some balance struck between the amount of fresh content being posted, and the average site activity, or the site winds up looking like a ghost town and the likelihood of any new users joining goes down significantly.

    But with that said, I do like the idea of incorporating some social bookmarking site elements here, like some of those you have suggested. E.g. It would be neat to be able to submit links to our own profiles or something like shared folders, with maybe with the option to submit them to a group later in case we ever want to open them up to discussion with other members of the site.

    17 votes
    1. [4]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I think the problem might be that groups are both too broad and too permanent. Topics are specific and temporary. If someone created a topic, we started posting some links to it, and it died of...

      I think the problem might be that groups are both too broad and too permanent. Topics are specific and temporary. If someone created a topic, we started posting some links to it, and it died of inactivity, that would be... normal. It seems like a better way to experiment?

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Sorry, I'm not quite sure what you mean. What do you think would be a better way to experiment?

        Sorry, I'm not quite sure what you mean. What do you think would be a better way to experiment?

        1. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          I mean that if concern over empty groups keeps us from creating new groups, maybe starting topics might be a good alternative as “experimental groups”. (With some work to make them an appealing...

          I mean that if concern over empty groups keeps us from creating new groups, maybe starting topics might be a good alternative as “experimental groups”. (With some work to make them an appealing alternative.)

          4 votes
          1. cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Ah, I see what you mean now. That's actually a pretty good idea! There is currently nothing really stopping any of us from throwing up such topics right now though, so if you have any ideas for...

            Ah, I see what you mean now. That's actually a pretty good idea! There is currently nothing really stopping any of us from throwing up such topics right now though, so if you have any ideas for megathread style, user link sharing topics on a particular subject (like we had for the protests and coronavirus), I say go for it! I would certainly contribute links to them if I find appropriate ones, and if any of those topics become popular enough I'm sure @Deimos wouldn't mind adding them to the recurring topics list too.

            5 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      I was a major contributor to Imzy...RIP

      I was a major contributor to Imzy...RIP

      2 votes
  2. [3]
    MonkeyPants
    Link
    Dear SkyBrian. I come to sites like Tildes to be ahead of the curve. You were spamming this site with so many articles about COVID back in Feb and early march, that you made me think. And prepare....

    Dear SkyBrian.

    I come to sites like Tildes to be ahead of the curve.

    You were spamming this site with so many articles about COVID back in Feb and early march, that you made me think. And prepare. I really appreciate that.

    For gods sake man, don't stop posting. Don't post more bookmarks. Keep doing what you are doing.

    NV

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Thanks, but that was luck and I don’t really expect it to happen again. Most of my interests are far less practical than noticing an upcoming pandemic.

      Thanks, but that was luck and I don’t really expect it to happen again. Most of my interests are far less practical than noticing an upcoming pandemic.

      4 votes
      1. MonkeyPants
        Link Parent
        No offense, but I certainly hope you don't notice any upcoming pandemics again.

        No offense, but I certainly hope you don't notice any upcoming pandemics again.

        6 votes
  3. [12]
    han2k
    Link
    Appreciate the effort. Personally I haven't posted anything yet because I want to make sure that when I post something it's something I really care about and want to discuss with others. I could...

    Appreciate the effort. Personally I haven't posted anything yet because I want to make sure that when I post something it's something I really care about and want to discuss with others. I could lower the bar, but is there really a need? It would be interesting to see active user count and new post per hour count for the whole site and compare it to other sites.

    9 votes
    1. [10]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      https://tildes.net/groups has approx topics and comments per day per group. And @Bauke's Tildes Stats site also has a total registered user count tracker: https://ts.bauke.xyz/ The total "active"...

      https://tildes.net/groups has approx topics and comments per day per group.

      And @Bauke's Tildes Stats site also has a total registered user count tracker:
      https://ts.bauke.xyz/

      The total "active" user count (which is a harder metric to determine) is not something that is available anywhere that I know of though.

      6 votes
      1. [9]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        Nor is the lurker count, not like that's easy to pin down. If Sturgeon's law holds, there should be 90 lurkers out there for everyone who comments at least once a week. I've often wondered how to...

        Nor is the lurker count, not like that's easy to pin down. If Sturgeon's law holds, there should be 90 lurkers out there for everyone who comments at least once a week. I've often wondered how to tempt those people into joining in the fun.

        5 votes
        1. Muffin
          Link Parent
          Yeah. We see you, lurkers. Join us. It’s a pretty damn awesome community. To OP’s question: I don’t mind the content at all! I’m excited for the day Tildes has an active enough community for me to...

          Yeah. We see you, lurkers. Join us. It’s a pretty damn awesome community.

          To OP’s question: I don’t mind the content at all! I’m excited for the day Tildes has an active enough community for me to be able to get lost in it for hours if need be!

          4 votes
        2. [7]
          asoftbird
          Link Parent
          I'd respond more if l had time to do so.

          I'd respond more if l had time to do so.

          2 votes
          1. [6]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            Best part about the slow turnover and the activity bump is that one can wait until one has the time without worrying about threads dying of old age.

            Best part about the slow turnover and the activity bump is that one can wait until one has the time without worrying about threads dying of old age.

            11 votes
            1. [5]
              asoftbird
              Link Parent
              doesn't help if activity dies before replies can be made in 2030

              doesn't help if activity dies before replies can be made in 2030

              1 vote
              1. [4]
                Amarok
                Link Parent
                Actually, it does! That reply will bump the thread back to the top in the activity sort. A thread could be quietly lurking for weeks before experiencing a burst of activity this way and coming...

                Actually, it does! That reply will bump the thread back to the top in the activity sort. A thread could be quietly lurking for weeks before experiencing a burst of activity this way and coming into its own. I think that won't matter much in the long run when volume of submissions in a given group is high, but it's already proven itself a lifesaver for less active groups. That simple bump mechanic is a godsend for young groups that are just getting started.

                The real cutoff is the 30 day point when voting records age out. That still seems very reasonable to me.

                4 votes
                1. [3]
                  asoftbird
                  Link Parent
                  Coming from every other site where bumping is discouraged (even at stackoverflow people generally don't like bumping), just the thought of replying to a post older than a few months doesn't even...

                  Coming from every other site where bumping is discouraged (even at stackoverflow people generally don't like bumping), just the thought of replying to a post older than a few months doesn't even occur to me.

                  And also, offtopic side convos will still bump things to the top, won't they?

                  1 vote
                  1. [2]
                    Kuromantis
                    Link Parent
                    Yes, the only exception if they're given one of the 4 negative labels in which case only "all activity" picks them up.

                    Side convos will still bump things to the top, won't they?

                    Yes, the only exception if they're given one of the 4 negative labels in which case only "all activity" picks them up.

                    1. cfabbro
                      (edited )
                      Link Parent
                      AFAIK, only comments that are labeled Noise, Offtopic, or Malice, or are located >= 5 deep in a comment thread, cause comments and their decedents to become "uninteresting" and get ignored in...

                      AFAIK, only comments that are labeled Noise, Offtopic, or Malice, or are located >= 5 deep in a comment thread, cause comments and their decedents to become "uninteresting" and get ignored in Activity sort... but not those labeled with Joke for some unknown reason. See:

                      https://gitlab.com/tildes/tildes/-/blob/master/tildes/consumers/topic_interesting_activity_updater.py#L43-52

                      But yeah, again AFAIK, "All Activity" sort doesn't use that mechanic, so every new comment will bump the topic if you are using it instead.

                      2 votes
    2. grungegun
      Link Parent
      I recognize about half of the links on tildes from HackerNews and reddit, so I believe it is hard to argue that you'd lower the bar substantially if it's an article you've found yourself (this...

      I recognize about half of the links on tildes from HackerNews and reddit, so I believe it is hard to argue that you'd lower the bar substantially if it's an article you've found yourself (this also demonstrates that I spend too much time on those other sites). I dislike most link posts primarily because content aggregate sites exist already, though there have been a couple of more obscure articles which I've enjoyed reading recently, that wouldn't have surfaced elsewhere.

      4 votes
  4. enso
    Link
    I have been a bit of a sporadic contributor to the site, but I will say that some communities really would benefit from more posts per day. For example ~news averages 2 posts and 18 comments a...

    I have been a bit of a sporadic contributor to the site, but I will say that some communities really would benefit from more posts per day. For example ~news averages 2 posts and 18 comments a day, there are way more than two things around the world that are newsworthy in a day. Now the amount of conversation that these posts bring really depends on how popular or "take worthy" the subject is in general.

    For example I posted a couple days ago about palm oil labor abuses in Malaysia. While I think that the article was interesting and an important topic to know something about there wasn't much discussion to be had because what could you say? "Thats horrible"? "omg i never knew"? Those don't add anything and are below the effort level that is expected from the comments sections here.

    I think that if you see something that could be newsworthy its reasonable to post as many links as you feel like, but I totally get what you mean when it comes to places like ~games.game_design. If one person was posting 2 topics a day with a comment on each it would over triple the total contributions to the tilde, which would just feel like talking to oneself.

    9 votes
  5. [11]
    Amarok
    Link
    I'm definitely holding back on music streams. Usually if I find a jam that I put into a playlist (I drag dozens around like old dustbins) it's good enough that I want to post it. However, that'd...

    I'm definitely holding back on music streams. Usually if I find a jam that I put into a playlist (I drag dozens around like old dustbins) it's good enough that I want to post it. However, that'd be 1-5 tracks a day with occasional bursts up to 50. I remember when we had the stats working in listentothis I'd posted about 1400 tracks over two years, @happybadger was ahead of me at like 1480 and the next lowest was in the 500s out of all approved submissions in listentothis over that period.

    If I did that pace here, all other content in ~music would get washed away like it was nothing. I can't really justify opening up like that unless it's in a ~music.streams group. That way people who want actual music in their ~music feed (and lots of it) can sub to it, and the rest who want articles about music, news, bands, etc can stay subbed to ~music. Maybe someday some sort of exemplary mechanism kicks a track or three a day out of ~music.streams into ~music.

    Those stats also told us that there were more than twelve thousand daily submissions of music streams to the hundreds of streaming subreddits. Somewhere in that activity, on a website with the insight to harness it, lies the most epic set of crowdsourced music charts a music lover could hope to have. The internet as an A&R scout, with ears and phones in every bar at every show.

    Curious if anyone else has been holding back on posting music streams, I'd be surprised if I'm the only one.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I definitely hold back on posting comments on music, mostly because I don't usually have anything to contribute beyond "this is great", which is noise-tier. If I try to force something more...

      I definitely hold back on posting comments on music, mostly because I don't usually have anything to contribute beyond "this is great", which is noise-tier. If I try to force something more substantive into my comment to clear the noise bar, it usually just ends up feeling clumsy, and I more often than not delete it.

      In some ways this is good, because we don't want music threads to fill up the activity feed with shallow comments, but on the other hand, it makes knowing if anyone's enjoyed or connected with the music a bit opaque outside of the post's score count. Like, I've been jamming to "Paranoid" since you posted it and think it's awesome, but you wouldn't know that because I didn't say so in the comments to it, because doing so feels like it goes a bit against our ethos here.

      6 votes
      1. monarda
        Link Parent
        Someone in the census said something like, "Writing comments feels like a homework assignment." I do like that there is a higher bar here than other places when commenting, but in a case like...

        I definitely hold back on posting comments on music, mostly because I don't usually have anything to contribute beyond "this is great", which is noise-tier. If I try to force something more substantive into my comment to clear the noise bar, it usually just ends up feeling clumsy, and I more often than not delete it.

        Someone in the census said something like, "Writing comments feels like a homework assignment." I do like that there is a higher bar here than other places when commenting, but in a case like this, I hate how many times I've wanted to write something like, "I really liked this, thank you" especially when music is shared, but didn't because it's "noise level." Sometimes I don't have the time or am not in a place to listen to links, but by seeing who likes it, over time I could gauge who shares similar tastes in music to me, giving me more impetus to listen to the music when I do have the time when I see that they liked it.

        5 votes
      2. Amarok
        Link Parent
        I think that perhaps a series of labels unique to the music groups could serve that function. Also, since it's being used on a submission rather than a user's comments, we might be able to avoid...

        I think that perhaps a series of labels unique to the music groups could serve that function. Also, since it's being used on a submission rather than a user's comments, we might be able to avoid all that label-dogpiling behavior that caused us to turn off their visibility.

        Rather than noise-tier comments, one could just apply labels like 'fire' and that would provide the same feedback.

        5 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      I have a hard time finding (new) music to listen to. So, I greatly value someone such as your self and look forward to your posts. Please, don't stop!

      I have a hard time finding (new) music to listen to. So, I greatly value someone such as your self and look forward to your posts. Please, don't stop!

      4 votes
    3. [3]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Between myself, yourself, all the other former /r/listentothis mods, and all the rateyourmusic community members on here, I have no doubt that if we were all to truly unleash our daily music...

      Curious if anyone else has been holding back on posting music streams

      Between myself, yourself, all the other former /r/listentothis mods, and all the rateyourmusic community members on here, I have no doubt that if we were all to truly unleash our daily music links, all the people currently complaining about Tildes being too tech-centric would suddenly start complaining there was nothing but nonstop music being posted. ;)

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        boredop
        Link Parent
        One thing that has been stopping me from posting songs (besides a lack of time and energy) is that if I find something that is worth posting, I can never decide if it belongs as a post to ~music...

        One thing that has been stopping me from posting songs (besides a lack of time and energy) is that if I find something that is worth posting, I can never decide if it belongs as a post to ~music or as a comment in the weekly "what are you listening to" thread. Sometimes I spend a while trying to decide and then just say to hell with it and go do something else.

        3 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I tend to view them as having entirely different purposes. The "What are you listening to" topic being for posting about music that I am are really into at the moment (i.e. have listened to more...

          I tend to view them as having entirely different purposes. The "What are you listening to" topic being for posting about music that I am are really into at the moment (i.e. have listened to more than once) and really want to discuss with others or talk about at length, whereas individual ~music posts are more for singles or albums (or music news) I have just stumbled across and want to share with others, but am not necessarily super passionate about.

          That's just my perspective on them though, and others may see it the complete opposite way, or see no distinction between them at all. But at least for me it helps to compartmentalize them like that, so I can determine where I should submit stuff.

          1 vote
    4. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I feel like a bunch of links to music in genres unknown to me would be overwhelming. I’d like a mini-review to sell me a bit on what’s great about it. But that’s too much work so maybe it should...

      I feel like a bunch of links to music in genres unknown to me would be overwhelming. I’d like a mini-review to sell me a bit on what’s great about it. But that’s too much work so maybe it should be per-playlist, if topics could somehow get turned into decent playlists.

      In the meantime, maybe posting a song a day might be a good format? Sort of like the astronomy picture of the day. Or pick some other schedule.

      On r/accordion I’m posting a song a month, though that includes making sheet music for it, researching the song’s history a bit, and finding a few different versions. And learning how to play it.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        I usually post that sort of info for albums when I share them but not always for individual tracks. I'm not really into massive reviews because they are usually just hot air, more about the author...

        I usually post that sort of info for albums when I share them but not always for individual tracks. I'm not really into massive reviews because they are usually just hot air, more about the author trying to sound clever than anything else. As they say, talking about music is like dancing about architecture. It's easier just to click play.

        I've been doing about a track a day for a little while now. That's a good pace for ~music. I don't post tracks I think are just ok, either - only the ones that end up making the cut to enter my library.

        5 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          Yes, I don’t think why you like a song can really be explained and writing a full article seems a bit much. But a short blurb (like, the size of a tweet) saying something about it is a way of...

          Yes, I don’t think why you like a song can really be explained and writing a full article seems a bit much. But a short blurb (like, the size of a tweet) saying something about it is a way of showing that you care about this song. Despite wanting some exposure to new music, clicking blindly on a link to a video isn’t something I’m interested in.

          For music especially, it’s unfortunate that the front page doesn’t show who submitted the link, since if you know someone’s tastes that can serve as a recommendation of sorts. (It is shown on the group page, though.)

          3 votes
  6. Deimos
    Link
    I haven't been around much the last couple of days, but I wanted to comment quickly to say that I definitely agree with this. I think there's some kind of awkward conflict happening between some...

    I haven't been around much the last couple of days, but I wanted to comment quickly to say that I definitely agree with this. I think there's some kind of awkward conflict happening between some parts of the site's mechanics/structure, and maybe we should change some things to try to get past that.

    I'll make a ~tildes.official topic about it sometime this week and we can see if there's any ideas we should try out.

    8 votes
  7. elcuello
    Link
    I know it's probably not sustainable and cannot go on but I really like that the content isn't overwhelming. I constantly fear this place could go the way of EVERY other site when it gets overrun...

    I know it's probably not sustainable and cannot go on but I really like that the content isn't overwhelming. I constantly fear this place could go the way of EVERY other site when it gets overrun at taken over by memes, pics, money and low quality content. More content isn't all bad but it has to have a purpose and not just quantity. Also why are people always mentioning groups, tags, sub communities when the overall amount of content isn't even enough. Am I missing some hidden content somewhere?

    3 votes
  8. [3]
    sron
    Link
    Maybe topic tag filtering just needs a couple of small changes to help people filter out what they don't want to see. a tag like indie could apply both to ~music and ~games, but maybe you still...

    Maybe topic tag filtering just needs a couple of small changes to help people filter out what they don't want to see.

    • a tag like indie could apply both to ~music and ~games, but maybe you still want to see one of them. At the moment it's both or nothing. If topic tag filters could be on a per-group basis that could help.
    • and, filters are global currently. Maybe you don't want to see something on the front page, but you do if you are actively looking for it?
    • options in the menu on posts to hide posts tagged TAG from the front page or hide posts from GROUP from front page as a shortcut
    3 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      You should repost your comment in the related ~tildes.official topic: How can we change the site's structure/mechanics/patterns so that we're not discouraging posting "too much" on particular...

      You should repost your comment in the related ~tildes.official topic:
      How can we change the site's structure/mechanics/patterns so that we're not discouraging posting "too much" on particular subjects?

      That way Deimos can see it, and if/when he implements any changes he will be able to consider your suggestions (which are good ones, IMO). :)

      3 votes
      1. sron
        Link Parent
        Good idea, copied it over just now.

        Good idea, copied it over just now.

        2 votes
  9. WMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWM
    Link
    I think the more people unleash their full link flood, the quicker the community will have to solve "too many links" problem, the sooner the community will figure out how to sort the good links to...

    I think the more people unleash their full link flood, the quicker the community will have to solve "too many links" problem, the sooner the community will figure out how to sort the good links to the top.

    Is the problem that there are too many music links? Let me limit to top 10% only.

    Does the homepage look barren with a bunch of links which have no comments? Don't show any links which have <x comments.

    And so on...

    1 vote